Engineering the future: CDIO as a tool for combating retention difficulties

Robin Clark, Jane Andrews

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    With the demand for engineering graduates at what may be defined as an unprecedented high, many universities find themselves facing significant levels of student attrition-with high "drop-out levels" being a major issue in engineering education. In order to address this, Aston University in the UK has radically changed its undergraduate engineering education curriculum, introducing capstone CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate) modules for all first year students studying Mechanical Engineering and Design. The introduction of CDIO is aimed at making project / problem based learning the norm. Utilising this approach, the learning and teaching in engineering purposefully aims to promote innovative thinking, thus equipping students with high-level problem-solving skills in a way that builds on theory whilst enhancing practical competencies and abilities. This chapter provides an overview of an Action Research study undertaken contemporaneously with the development, introduction, and administration of the first two semesters of CDIO. It identifies the challenges and benefits of the approach and concludes by arguing that whilst CDIO is hard work for staff, it can make a real difference to students' learning experiences, thereby positively impacting retention.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDevelopments in Engineering Education Standards
    Subtitle of host publicationAdvanced Curriculum Innovations
    PublisherIGI Global
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Print)9781466609518
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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